Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sonoma Creek

There is a soberly named creek that runs behind our house. Its headwaters are about 10 miles north of us at the Sugarloaf waterfall, it bleeds into the bay about 20 miles south of us. The boy is of course fascinated with it, while mom and I are mostly terrified of his fascination. Perhaps not terrified, but cautious and sometimes vigilant. 

The unstable bank of this creek that runs behind our house is steep with rocks, roots, and boulders populating the way down, accumulating at the bottom in a pile of visible threat. Any foot slip from our backyard towards this terror would be horrible. Not potentially horrible, but actually. I know. I once slid about 10-12 feet down it before my flailing arms and waist fat slowed my descent to a stop. Well, it was the fat and the branches that scraped along my abdomen and arms. Resistance brought me to a halt. Bleeding and confused, I climbed back up the banks in the dark of night.

Yes, drunk.

Luckily there are places to enter only a short distance upstream or downstream. Akira the pup has explored the various ways to enter, cross, and frolic downstream, before ascending the banks on the far side, to unfamiliar lawns and strange puppy friends for her to meet. While the boy and his buddy (who spent the night last night) have been relegated to enjoying the pool that has formed just north of an old stone dam, maybe five hundred yards upstream, where it can be entered by shore or tree swing. 

It's nice to have a little natural place to swim, a local swimming hole, as it were. I know I've said this many times before, but I'll say it again: where I grew up there was the constant fear of the many alligators that governed any similarly themed excursion. Always, there was fear. 

The stone dam creates a little swimming spot that can be somewhat relied upon for good, simple fun. A few times a years the river rises so thats the dam ceases to be any buffer at all for the rapids. When the rains cease, this leaves large areas of river rocks near our place that are dry and can be uneasily walked through at other times. 

You can still find an occasional beaver dam here, also. On my bike rides up the valley I have seen them wandering in the dry river beds. I greatly prefer beavers to alligators, though they should always be left alone. They are territorial, aggressive, and often the victim of rabies (especially if you see them in the daytime). I try not to misapply concepts of benevolence and harmony to what can be found in nature. One is a reptile, the other a rodent. 

At the swimming hole there is mostly a current-less pool, peaceful upstream and down. 

Us, the predators that matter. 

There is no story to tell, other than the plain fact of us having done this thing yesterday - two boys, two dogs, two parents.

For as much as I talk about photography you might get the misimpression that I am meticulous about the technologies involved. Todays pictures prove otherwise, to me. Not in the fact that they are mostly an artless documenting of a trip to a little creek, but that when I started looking through them I noticed they looked noticeably better than what I am used to from this camera - deeper and richer. 

Because I use this camera (Fuji) to shoot so much, and often when I am out and about with the boy - where I shoot a lot and hope to increase my chances of capturing something candid or a mistake that's interesting - I foolishly shoot high quality jpegs instead of in RAW. I will need to stop that now.

I renounce all things except maybe happiness.